Men's Volleyball Takes First Set, Falls in Four to No. 15 Cal Baptist

Gretsch registered a career-high 16 kills in the loss (Zach Williamson).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's volleyball team took the first set off No. 15 Cal Baptist but could not hold on, falling to the Lancers Monday night in four sets at the Malkin Athletic Center, 25-20, 23-25, 17-25 and 21-25.

Harvard (9-7, 5-2 EIVA) hit .342 as a team despite the loss thanks to a 41-assist effort from Marko Kostich. The sophomore also added five kills of his own to go with six digs. Brad Gretsch totaled a career-high 16 kills and a .324 hitting percentage, while Branden Clemens finished the night with 14 kills and a .367 clip.

Cal Baptist (10-13, 4-13 MPSF) outpaced the Crimson on the attack, hitting .389 led by Enrique Garcia's 16 kills and .636 percentage. Roy Powell added 13 kills and hit .423 as Arturo Iglesias dished out 49 assists.

Harvard came out swinging in the first set, hitting .444 with 14 kills on 27 attempts with just two errors. Gretsch led the way with six kills on eight swings, with his fifth kill evening the score up at 18-18 late in the frame. A kill by Clemens and block from Gretsch moved the score to 20-18 in Harvard's favor as the Crimson closed the set on an 8-2 run, with you guessed it, Gretsch, scoring set point, 25-20.

Clemens put Harvard on top early in the second set with his lone block of the night, 4-1. The Lancers quickly rebounded and evened things up at 4-4, setting the stage for a back-and-forth that would go to the very end. The Crimson appeared to have the upper hand as a Cal Baptist service error put the score at 22-20, but three-straight points regained the edge for the Lancers, 23-22. Tied at 23 following a Riley Moore kill, Cal Baptist finally took hold of the set with back-to-back kills from Garcia squaring the match at one set apiece.

The Lancers used an 8-3 run to pull away from Harvard midway through the third and never looked back, riding their .522 hitting percentage to a 25-17 victory.

The Crimson turned things around in the fourth and was within two points of Cal Baptist at the midway point, 14-12, following a Kostich kill. A 5-1 run stretched the Lancers lead to 21-14, but after four consecutive points the Crimson remained within striking distance, 21-18. Harvard was unable to complete the comeback, however, as the teams traded points with Cal Baptist taking the match on a service error, 25-21.

Harvard returns to conference play next weekend as it travels to Sacred Heart Saturday, March 26 for a 4 p.m. showdown.